Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

handwriting day Archive



February 2014

Hope, She Wrote: Attitude of Gratitude

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Hope's How-To, Published Work

G.K. Chesterton on gratitude.

Have you ever gone out in the middle of the winter and opted to wear only one glove? Didn’t think so. It just wouldn’t make sense.

Have you ever seen a bird with only one wing? Makes it pretty difficult to fly, right?

It’s the same thing with gratitude and thanksgiving. You really can’t have one without the other. Whenever you possess the quality of gratitude and experience the feeling it brings, it’s a natural inclination to express this by giving thanks and showing appreciation.

I’m not sure why people tend to wait until the holiday season to express their gratitude through thanksgiving. Maybe it’s the warmth that comes along with a fire or the smell of baking in the oven that inspires people to come closer together and be more open with what’s on their hearts. I’d like to suggest that we shouldn’t wait until the holidays to possess an attitude of gratitude. Having an attitude of gratitude is something we can practice on a daily basis throughout the entire year.

G.K. Chesterton once said “when it comes to life, the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.” Now that’s a statement that causes conviction. So often I find myself getting caught up complaining about things or circumstances that others might actually consider a blessing. Think of what a better place our world would be if we all made a conscious effort to act with thanksgiving and demonstrate our gratitude.

Expressing gratitude through acts of thanksgiving need not be complex, difficult, or expensive. There are several simple ways we can demonstrate our gratitude to others.

  • Write a handwritten note of thanks – National Hand-Writing Day is celebrated annually on January 23, but why wait until next year to write a quick note? Write a simple note of thanks to someone who’s made a difference in your life, or someone who recently helped you out. Even if it’s just one specific sentence of something they did that made a difference to you, the sentiment comes from your heart, and that will make someone’s day brighter.
  • Do something thoughtful – whether it’s making lunch for a friend, buying a coffee for the person behind you in the drive-thru lineup, or surprising someone with a few flowers, sincere acts of thoughtfulness can have a lasting impact.
  • Listen – This is a big one. Ever found yourself formulating your next sentence while you’re in conversation? Yeah, try not doing that for once and truly absorbing what your friend or family member has to say. You might be surprised at the significance of your sincerity.
  • Smile – Seriously, people. It costs nothing, and it makes complete sense – smiling is so much easier than stink-face.

I’ll close with this thought from John Fitzgerald Kennedy (aka the 35th President of the Unite States of America, known to his friends and family as “Jack”): “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” It’s as much a challenge for me writing this, as it is for you reading.

Robertson, Hope. “Attitude of Gratitude.” Minto Express 29 January 2014: 5. Print.



January 2014

Hope’s How-To: Write a Handwritten Letter

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Hope's How-To, Published Work

Graphique de France La Petite Presse boxed note cards.

Graphique de France La Petite Presse boxed note cards, $10 for 10.

December 7 and January 23. Two random dates, but there’s one thing — at least one that I know of — that ties them together: December 7 is celebrated annually as national letter writing day, and January 23 is known as national handwriting day.

I love snail mail. Unfortunately though, as I alluded to a few years ago, the handwritten letter is a dying art. And why is that? Sure, the cost of postage is constantly increasing, but comparable to other acts of thoughtfulness, sending a handwritten note is one of the simplest, most sincere ways of showing your gratitude.

Derek Blasberg for Paperless Post

Derek Blasberg’s smart designs for Paperless Post, $5 each or $19 for 10.

Getting inspired to write can be a challenge, especially if you don’t have a designated writing desk, or if you don’t have proper stationery at your finger tips. I’m a big fan of personalized stationery, like Smythson’s correspondence cards (see image below). If you don’t want to break the bank, Paperless Post has a great inventory of designs (for both online and print) featuring some fantastic designers (like Derek Blasberg, check out one of his witty designs above). Another option is Graphique de France’s La Petite Presse line (featuring darling designs on quality card stock, see top image).

Smythson personalized note cards

Smythson personalized note cards, approx. $325 for 50.

Saying thank you or highlighting from your heart how someone has made an impact on you doesn’t have to be complicated. Keep it simple by following these steps on how to write a handwritten letter:

  1. Start with a sentence. Get specific with why you’re writing. “I’m writing to say thank you for …”
  2. Keep it short. Remember, you’re writing a handwritten letter, not a dissertation.
  3. Share from your heart. Maybe there’s a quote or a verse that’s spoken to you recently that you want to pass along. Write it down and reference it.
  4. Date your correspondence. Sure it’s trivial, but years down the road, if the recipient looks back over your note in review, they’ll appreciate recalling the date they received your letter.
  5. Sign it and send it in the mail. This is key. Picking up personalized mail in the post is an absolute delight.